Raising Kids on Real Food-Vegetarian Tacos

April 13th, 2010 in Raising Kids on Read Food

Super Easy, Very Little to Mess Up, and Crazy Fast to Whip Up are all things I look for with dinner recipes. You can feed your kids REAL FOOD with very little thinking ahead and still have the recipes fall under all three of those categories.

Now listen…not all Mexican dishes have to be full of meat & cheese. There, I said it.  Not that meat and cheese are not important in a diet; they are. Although, you don’t need to have meat to make a full dinner and a yummy Mexican dish doesn’t have to be smothered in cheese (all the time, that is) to be good.

This meal is pretty self explanatory with the pictures; beans, veggies, whole grain tortillas, THE END.

Let me tell you, though, why this meal is REAL FOOD, fabulous for you, and how to get your kiddos to gobble it up.

Black Beans are just downright fabulous so eat up.  Get your kids loving these.Black beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other legumes. They have a very high fiber content and when combined with whole grains such as brown rice, black beans provide virtually fat-free high quality protein. Black beans are an excellent source of the trace mineral, molybdenum that is responsible for detoxifying sulfites. Well, why do we need that? Sulfites are a type of preservative commonly added to prepared foods. The side effects to these preservatives are rapid heartbeat, headache or disorientation. A cup of black beans will give you 172.0% of the daily value for this helpful trace mineral. Black beans help your digestion system, are loaded with antioxidants, give you energy, can help prevent cancer and can lower your heart attack risk. So, basically, EAT UP!

Now onto the vegetable part.  For today, I’ll skip the nutritional value.  I think (geez I hope!) we all know veggies are critical to good health. But how in the world, you ask, are you supposed to get these into your kids’ mouths?

Choices:Let your kids choose. Involve them in meal planning, going out to the grocery store or just putting together your last minute shopping list. ASK THEM, even if you can only ask a couple of them each time.  ASK THEM what veggie would you like for tacos? They love corn? Do it. Baby carrots tickle their fancy? Have them, just grate them up, saute them a bit and throw that in. It’s ok if it’s something different; just let them make a choice. So they know, hmm Mom said we are having vegetable tacos but at least I know I can fill it up with something I picked and that I like.

Involvement:Cooking and creating something that they will eat or that the family will eat builds self esteem. It does, it competely 100% does. Allowing them to pick a veggie to put in dinner that they thought up themselves involves them. Kids are much more likely to try something new, whine a bit less and learn to love REAL food when they are involved.

Trying Something New: Turn shopping time into a bit of an adventure. You want them to try a new veggie? Dare them! Have them Double Dog Dare YOU! Try something new, if it is a new kind of mushroom, different color of a tomato, a vegetable they have never seen before or something they know YOU aren’t terribly fond of. Together, TRY something new! You can make it fun instead of trying to sneak it into their food and them getting peeved off. Hey I don’t blame them.  You wouldn’t like someone messing with your food, would you?

Control: I know as parents we do need to control.   Depending on different personalities, how we want to raise our kids or the ages of our kids varies how much control we do place on them. Although, step back for a second and just try to understand how much of their lives are really controlled. And how something as small as getting to put together your own taco at dinner without everyone bossing you around would feel really, really good. It might be messy, they might not do it right, but just try to let them.

These tips should help get those new veggies into their tacos and into their mouths.



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